In the only all seeded third round match-up from the second quarter, the number 13 seed, Ekaterina Makarova will take on the number 17 seed, Elina Svitolina. Makarova has completely floated under the radar this fortnight after a leg injury halted her summer hard court season; the Russian player was forced to pull out of her semi-final in Washington and despite winning a round in Toronto, pulled out in Cincy. Makarova is not playing doubles this week, an indication that she is unlikely to be at 100%. You wouldn’t have guessed that from her results this week as Makarova has won both her matches in straight sets. It’s easy to forget she was a semi-finalist last year in New York.
Svitolina is having a great summer with semi-final showings in Stanford and Toronto. She’s carried that form into New York where she has continued to prove herself, beating players she is expected to beat. Svitolina beat Kaia Kanepi, 6-3 6-4 in the second round. I’m not really sure why I went for Kanepi… i’ve made some weird picks this week which I can’t explain myself! I watched the first set and was very impressed by Svitolina who won all the longer rallies, but was also reasonably proactive in not just sitting back. Kanepi didn’t play badly at all but a lack of matches this year seemed to go against her.
Makarova leads the head-to-head with Svitolina, 2-0. Both wins have come this year and in straight sets in Sydney (7-6(1) 6-2) and Miami (6-0 6-4). Svitolina had a set point in that first encounter in Sydney but I remember being very surprised by the scoreline in Miami. A lot of this depends on Makarova’s health. If she’s not 100%, Svitolina can keep balls in court for fun and make this a very awkward match. However, Makarova danced through her second round match against Lauren Davis and if she’s up for this, her consistency off both wings and a touch more power and invention may be the difference. I’m swaying with this prediction…
Prediction: Makarova d. Svitolina in 3 sets